Published On: 5 March 2010
Filed Under: Featured, Tools Tagged As: , , ,

The term “The Big Six” is commonly used on blogs and within publishing circles to talk about the six largest publishers in the industry. Each of the big six publishers has a collection of imprints, or smaller publishing houses, that reside with relative autonomy within the larger publishing umbrella.

Here’s a quick overview of just who the Big Six are where they fit in the modern corporate world.

Hachette Book Group

Formerly Warner Books (of Time Warner), Hachette was acquired by Hachette Livre, itself a subsidiary of the French media conglomerate Lagardère Group. The publisher is known for a few of its larger imprints – Little, Brown & Company and Grand Central.

HarperCollins

Owned by Ruper Murdoch’s News Corp, HarperCollins is the combination of two other publishing companies (William Collins, Sons and Co Ltd and Harper & Row). Both Harper and Collins were founded in the early 19th century. Today, HarperCollins has around fifty imprints, covering just about every imaginable publishing niche from all over the world.

MacMillan Publishers Ltd

Founded in 1843 by Daniel and Alexander MacMillan, the company is now currently owned by the German Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group. Residing in the New York City’s Flatiron building, the MacMillan imprints run the gamut from commerical fiction (St. Martin’s Press) through speculative fiction (Tor) and strong literary fiction (Farrar, Straus & Giroux).

Penguin Group

Owned by the British conglomerate Pearson PLC, Penguin is the second largest trade publisher in the world. Penguin got its start producing high quality paperbacks to be sold through Woolworths and other department stores. Even today, Penguin is still known largely for its classic paperbacks.

Random House

Random House is the largest English-language trade publisher in the world and is a full subsidiary of the German conglomerate Bertelsmann. The Random House American Division is divided into several publishing groups including the Random House Publishing Group, the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, and the Crown Publishing Group. Each group has their own set of unique and specialized imprints.

Simon & Schuster

Owned by the CBS Corporation, Simon & Schuster can trace its publishing history back to the 1920s and the dawn of the crossword puzzle. Today, Simon & Schuster publishes around two thousand titles each year through dozens of imprints including Pocket, Free Press, and Scribner.

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  • Incognito

    The field definitely has changed, with Penguin now having swapped places with Random House and currently being the world's largest publisher.

  • http://twitter.com/ChrisChater1 Christopher Chater

    Amazon could replace them all.

  • Kerdell Joseph

    IDK WHAT THE FUCK ALL U TLKING BOUT

  • Claybone

    It’s “Macmillan” with a lower-case “l.”

  • Claybone

    I mean lower-case “m,” the second one.

  • http://upcoming4.me/ Upcoming4.me

    Ah, that’s it then.

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